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Study of the use of solar sails in space vehicle trajectories

Grant number: 18/19959-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Aerospace Engineering - Flight Dynamics
Principal researcher:Antônio Fernando Bertachini de Almeida Prado
Grantee:Lucas Gouvêa Meireles
Home Institution: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações (Brasil). São José dos Campos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/24561-0 - On the relevance of small bodies in orbital dynamics, AP.TEM

Abstract

The concept of solar sails is already well known in the literature and there are numerous applications in space vehicle trajectories. The basic principle is to use the solar radiation pressure to move a space vehicle, thus saving fuel and making missions feasible. The present work aims to study this concept when applied to space missions going to asteroids. Several types of missions will be considered, beginning with a passage to observe the celestial body, and later including the problem of orbital insertion and maintenance around these bodies. It is also considered the problem of deviation of an asteroid in a course of collision with Earth, a very actual problem in astrodynamics. Several techniques have been proposed to avoid this catastrophic scenario. One of the topics of the present work will be the study of the possibility of using a spacecraft equipped with a solar sail to deflect the trajectory of an asteroid approaching Earth in a collision course. The solar sail is used to send a spacecraft to intercept this asteroid, changing its velocity after the impact. The use of an extra propulsion system to provide an additional speed increment at the moment of impact, such as rockets, will also be analyzed. A variety of scenarios will be studied with the goal of mapping trajectories to serve as an option for a mission analyst. (AU)

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